Breckenridge Public Schools was set to hold a parade for teachers, staff and students to say goodbye on Friday, May 22 at the elementary school in Breckenridge, Minnesota. However, due to last-minute guidance in light of the coronavirus crisis, the parade was canceled Thursday evening.
“We are beyond disappointed and want to send virtual hugs, high-fives and well wishes off to our students and families. Their continued support and stepping up to the plate to make distance learning a success has been phenomenal. We miss them and can’t wait to see them all again,” elementary Principal Corinna Erickson said.
The elementary school typically ends their year with cleaning out cubbies, lockers, desks and turning in any material. There are fun projects and field trips to end and celebrate a successful school year. For the first graders, they typically go to Chahinkapa Park to play, have a picnic and visit the animals at the zoo.
Although this year, students began cleaning out their cubbies out mid-March and have gone nearly three months without seeing their teachers and classmates
“It has been very difficult to not have the normal end of school closure that we typically get with our students. It’s hard not to have their stories, shared laughs, hugs, high-fives, and energy. You become such a family within your classroom and while we try to see and talk to each other through Google Meets, it just isn’t the same. I would say that it doesn’t really feel like the end of school year/summer to me yet and I think it is because of how we are having to end the year this year,” Jessica Dobmeier, 1-2 crew teacher, said.
Since a typical end of a school year was made impossible because of the COVID-19 outbreak, schools and staff have found creative ways to say goodbye.
Erickson organized a reverse parade where Breckenridge Police Department and fire department would lead the parade of students and families around the elementary school block. School staff and teachers planned on being in small groups with each other, while social distancing, to wave and say goodbye to students for the end of the school year.
Second-grade teacher Lori Randall was hoping to be able to see all of her students, wave goodby and “hope to see lots and lots of smiles from them as they go by.” For her this parade was meant as a closure to a very different school year that she hopes not to have to experience again.
“It is my hope that the students can see that we are all still here and that their school family will be here in the fall. I hope it gives them a feeling of closure on the year as we smile and wave goodbye to one another,” Randall said.
However, with social distancing and maintaining a low crowd concerns became an issue that led to the school canceling the parade.
“The governor’s orders and latest guidance presented a variety of concerns that caused us to pause. We were concerned that we would not be able to meet all the expectations in regards to the gathering size and social distancing,” Erickson said.
The school is now hoping to be able to create a video with teachers sending special messages to students so that they can say goodbye and wish students a happy summer. They are hoping to release the video immediately.